Monday, April 30, 2007

Acquisition Phase

The WEBS sale had me completely tied up for at least three weeks. I was unable to open a web browser without going back to eyeball different colors and consider new ideas. I received my Cascade 220 in Sapphire Heather, and it's beautiful as expected. It actually arrived before the Pastaza, but I just didn't put up a picture. (My Knit Picks lace weight is getting here this afternoon!!!!!)

Over at January One, the insanity has lasted for weeks. But it was good, it was colorful, and it had very interesting results. So interesting, in fact, that I am inclined to join up and get my own passport to bug frak crazy in the form of a mitre blanket project. To that end, I've been vetting sources. Remember my list of LYS's to scope? Well, check Northwest Wools off that list, because I did and let's just say...not so much. They have Tahki, but in very limited colors. And NO sock yarn that I could readily discern. And the service was abrupt at best. I'll give them the caveat that bringing your two-year-old into a yarn store is a real turn-off for most shop owners, but that doesn't mean I'm not a serious knitter.

At any rate, I think I'll be checking one other source here in town for colors, but most of my Tahki is probably coming from either the manufacturer or WEBS.

And that's me for a while because I have to get some b.b.d.r.'s finished to send out tomorrow or Friday for Mother's Day and the k/h needs finishing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

100 Things, #1 & #2

Top Ten Favorite Smells +1 (inspired by accident while reading this)
In no particular order.

1. My son's head and neck.
2. Frying onions, garlic and butter.
3. Fresh basil.
4. The Daphne hedges on the walk between the parking lot and campus at the University of Washington.
5. The graduate libary stacks at UW.
6. Lilacs.
7. That ozone-y smell when you first open a window on a spring day.
8. Freshly brewed jasmine tea.
9. MommaKate's hair.
10. Newly mowed grass.
11. The way home (the NW) smells differenly than the East Coast.

And after writing that I can't help but think of my...

Top Ten Favorite Sounds

1. The call of a red-winged blackbird.
2. Wind rushing through an evergreen forest uninterupted by human noise.
3. My son's first "mama" of the day, usually as he's waking up.
4. Hub turning the key in the door as he arrives home from work for the day.
5. Wind chimes on the back deck of The Cabin.
6. The ritual of packing and tearing open a new box of smokes.
7. The calm silence immedaitely after a household appliance shuts the heck up.
8. My son's laughter, especially when he's giggling flat out.
9. "Swee swee", or my nephew's words for "this way" when he was first learning to talk.
10. Anything by Coldplay.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Louet Love

Though I have yet to try Louet Euroflax in an actual project, I'm drawn in by the words and recommendations of others. In the spirit of virtual shopping therapy, I went on a trek to see where I could get some for a good price. This is what I found. Yeah-eah.

Now, if you've contemplated the nightie in Mason-Dixon knitting, and you're a size 14 pant and DD bust like me, you're looking at about five of those lovely 100g skeins. With shipping from a typical place, that's a Ben Franklin and an Andrew Jackson without breaking a sweat. I can spend that on shoes no problem, but I'd rather not on a single garment.

But finding Chez C in Florida has made that fantasy nightie a bit closer to real. To wit, if you buy two 1/2 pound cones rather than five skeins, and with the complimentary shipping over $25 (love free shipping, love it, love it, love it), Louet becomes a splurge instead of my child's college fund. Shiny.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What Do You Do When go to your favorite knit night and find yourself next to someone who not only makes you deeply uncomfortable but also seems to be there for nefarious purposes.

Nefarious? In a yarn shop?

Well, here's what I did, in no particular order. I laughed nervously at some comments. I ignored others entirely. I struck up conversation with folks to the other side and across the room. I (guiltily) engaged in gossip regarding Mr. Nefarious' own place of business with Mr. Nefarious. And I've been dissecting the whole thing in my head. Since Thursday.

What appeared to be going on in my view was an employee from another yarn shop in the area came to knit night for purposes other than knitting. Comments were dropped about "his store" and what they did or didn't do. Bragging occurred. Just prior to Mr. N's departure, he reminded us all to come to his store on Sunday. And all this went on in front of several employees and the owners of the shop where we were all happily knitting away and sipping complimentary champagne.

Now, there are several permutations for possible reaction. The nice and the not nice, shall we say. That's why I'm still contemplating all this, to be honest. I am really impressed with the courtesy and tolerance shown by everyone present on Thursday. The owner chatted happily with Mr. N. on at least two occasions. I'm not feeling quite so mature or charitable, and am inclined to phone Mr. N.'s store to inquire about his purposes/future employment/other nasty bits. I have considered providing website and blog links for the offending parties. But then, I'd be returning his really bad form, wouldn't I. Ouch.

My hope for the future is that 1) Mr. N. does not make another appearance, 2) I never have to sit next to him again 3) I can learn to quell my own desire to sit in judgment of others.

(Dear viewers, please forgive me for baring my ugly bits. I keep thinking I need to talk this one through a bit more to get my head on straight.)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

No Thanks to the Peanut Gallery

My husband has suggested that I change the name of my blog to "The Unread Knitting Blog". I'm actually at a place where I'd like to see how long one can write a blog without getting a comment while actually posting comments elsewhere and linking to other sites. And spamments don't count.

It was bound to happen. I was desperate to find out WHAT THE HECK IT IS. Well, I have, on my own, found the bleeding curry colored wonder. Here. Have I mentioned that I think yarn sales are inspired by evil?

Yum with a Side of Bliss

...or Mascarpone Icecream with Pears and Dulce de Leche.

Mascarpone Icecream
8 oz. mascarpone
8 oz. whole milk
3/4 c. superfine sugar

Combine mascarpone and sugar, then add the milk a 1/4 cup at a time so the mascarpone dissolves without lumping. Freeze mixture in an icecream machine.

- I found this recipe in a book at work called Ice Cream, though I can't find it on Amazon. Part of what I like is the fact that you don't have to cook and then cool the liquid overnight before freezing it in the machine. Next time, though, I'm only adding 1/2 a cup of sugar because I just don't like it quite that sweet.

- Boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple of hours and you have the quick and easy version of dulce de leche.

Serve it up baby. A couple of halves of pears, a couple scoops of ice cream and a scoop of dulce de leche. Oh so good.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Planning Stages

In an effort not to run aground on really bad color combinations, I put together a sketch of my plan for the Log Cabin Wedding Gift I'm ordering for in a couple weeks. I used the free software Ruth suggested in her series on color, although I think I need to do a bit more playing. This bit took me a while to put together and it is by no means perfect. I would really rather have something set up so I can point and click to change color, rather than point, drag, point, click, point, click, for a single color change. The upshot of my color test is that I found out I already had a great contrast color - the cream. I just don't see neutrals like white and black as much other than background, but those dark reds and browns sure brought out the pale. I think I like it.

My list of intended projects is coming along nicely. After reading through my local library's copy of EZ's Knitting Around I think I'd like to make a couple of Pie Are Square shawls, one for BF's mom and one for mine. I'm pretty set on Knit Pick's Alpaca Cloud in either Stream or Autumn for BFM's, and I'm going to look at either Elegance or Ambrosia for Mom's. I think I'm also adding a Log Cabin in blues and greens to the list for the In-Laws, for which I plan to use the above file to check the look of the FO. Did I mention that already? Oh, who cares.

I found this lovely sale at WEBS while reading Grumperina's blog. I have done some serious felting with Cascade 220 and loved it, so in a surprising show of self control I only ordered 6 skeins of Sapphire Heather. As I warned my husband, I could buy 100 skeins of Cascade 220 in 20 different colors, if only we had the dough. Why worry about where to keep it all until UPS tries to deliver it. I think I'd need to rent a cargo container.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I'm trying something a bit new - a schedule. Actually, it's a series of deadlines for knitting projects. Next week is BF's birthday, for which I am planning to send several BBdr's. A while back, I ordered 18 different balls of Elmore-Pisgah Peaches n Cream and I'm surprised to find I didn't post a picture of the lot. Mother's Day is next on the list, with more BBdr's for Mom, M-I-L, and BF's Mom.

After that come's hubby's birthday, with the kilt-hose plan. I have finally made it past the cuff. *sigh of relief* However, the k-h has come out of the closet because I'm running out of time, and though I'm lieing my arse off about what the intended FO is, he'll figure it eventually. After all the May stuff is said and done, it'll be time to start a Log Cabin blanket for a wedding I'm part of in July. I'm planning to use Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes, and I'm curious to see how long the project takes me.

Post-July? Christmas presents. Now THERE'S ambition for ya.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Untried LYS's

As if there wasn't enough yarn in my life and place to get it from, I've been thinking about checking out some other local yarn stores. I took Farmhouse Knit Shop off my list because I'm virtually unable to make their store hours and they don't sell much sock yarn. Here are some other places on my list of "exploration":

Dublin Bay Knitting Company
-They don't seem to sell online like my other favorite shops, but they're only in The Pearl, which isn't far.

Northwest Wools
-I've heard loads of good things about these folks, and Multnomah Village is close and has a notoriously good toy store. N.w.W. also sells roving and fleece for needle felting and spinning. Score.

-Somebody I work with has taken classes and lives near this one. She swears by the place. Worth a look.

There are a couple stores that wouldn't be far, but one can only spend so much time acquiring fuzz. Sometimes the dishes really should be done.

Doctors Make Me Nervous

...but that doesn't mean I don't take my kid to one.

Today was our first appointment with our new pediatrician. My anticipation level hovered near anxiety for reasons both numerous and boring. If there was a list of 100 things about me on this blog, it would contain something about my tendancy to worry over the uncontrollable details. That said, I think my son could not care less about the whole business. Smart little peanut.

We're on a very altered vaccination schedule, and though our previous pediatrician in North Carolina was good at adjusting to that, she was never really supportive. I was confident in my choices and educated about my reasons which helped to ease her concerns. However, this was not the kind of ongoing relationship that I thought would be best for my son and my own mental health. In all other ways our previous doc set the bar unreachably high.

Back to those vacs. I picked a new doc here in Oregon because he was familiar with the source of my altered schedule and he is supportive of such changes. He's also pretty clear about medicating with antibiotics only when necessary, another kudo for us. We talked about one of the shots we'd chosen to go without and he asked me to reconsider my objections based on new data. Good argument. He's aware of the thimerisol issue, we talked about Chicken Pox and Measles/Mumps/Rubella timing, and he never said a peep about my passing on Hep B. After today, I feel very confident about his knowledge and I'm pretty sure we'll be able to work together well in my son's best interests.

(The pediatrician who checked out my newborn son two years ago wasa total bastard very vocal about our choosing not to give our son his first shot, for a sexually transmitted disease no less, at the age of 12 hours. Not a keeper.)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sunday Salad

Rowling Meets Master Shakespeare

If you're a fan of both, then Saturday's airing of the second episode third season Dr. Who is a blockbuster. I know, how can so much greatness exist in one place? Hopefully you'll watch and find out, although if you're on the North American continent you might have to drool and wait.

The 1st Sunday After The 1st Full Moon After The Vernal Equinox

Also known as Easter. Which in my childhood meant dyeing, hiding and hunting eggs without any religious connotation. We also received a huge box of candy from my paternal grandmother in what amounted to a semiannual sugar installment.

I'm planning to carry forward that dyeing, hiding and hunting, although without the competitiveness and some of the emotional mishaps that accompanied my own experience. One year, I spilled the cup of blue dye on the carpet, and didn't hear the end of it the whole weekend. That's always loads of fun for a twelve year old. This year was the second Easter egg hunt for the little guy, and the first that he was involved in the dyeing process. Like a charm. We even found a good place to hide eggs in our apartment complex neighborhood.


I've sewn up the ends on another preemie hat, which means now I can drop off the whole inventory. I've also come to the neck shaping on the experimental sweater and progressed a few rows on the kilt hose. I don't look forward to starting sock #2. Mother's Day and BF's birthday are both quickly approaching and my plan is to knit up 12 or so ball band washrags. Good thing they're quick.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

FO: a pair of Blue Green Monsters

Finished socks in their natural habitat. There is a bit of bag in the ankle and they're a bit short in the toe (I better learn to darn), but they're soft and my sweetie thinks they're great.

Project Details
Needles: Size 1.5 Crystal Palace 6" DPN (Lurv, lurv lurv these!)
Fiber: Brown Sheep's Wildfoote
Pattern: My own, in which I totally forget that my gauge in the round is different than flat. Cast on eighty some odd stitches, reduced in the ankle to make up for sloppy gauge. Cuff, heel, toe in contrast color. Used Yarn Harlot's "peasant toe" recommendation.
Next Time: I'll remember that most sock patterns in sock-weight yarn call for 64 stitches cast on. I figured out why most socks are ribbed: extra room if they're too small and suck-it-up action if they're too big. Duh.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Good For A Giggle

Savage Chickens found care of Rose-Kim Knits. Take a look, have a laugh.

What Am I?

This is the yarn I've been making hats out of for a the Cast Off Tour date at Powell's in June, and for the Dulaan Project. It's gorgeous and soft, but curry yellow is just not my color. As with all the hand-me-downs I get from BF's Grammie, ball bands are loooooonnnngggg gone. That's why I need you out there.

Here are the two FO's I've made so far, with at least one more planned. Cast on an odd number, knit 6 rows in the round on size 9's, knit 5 rows seed stitch, continue on to desired length in stockinette, then reduce. I bound off the smaller of the two by threading the tail through the final loops, but the larger I bound off with Kitchener stitch. I like the way it makes the star pattern of the redux come together and appear to flow into one another.

This is where you come in, gentle reader: do you recognize this fiber? From feel, it is softer than most wool, but not as lofty as alpaca. Beyond that, I'm pretty much in the dark, unless I shut off the light and hold this stuff up. I never thought yarn could be made use of as a lantern.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

There Should Be A Law

...against casting on a new project (or projects, if your batshit crazy like me) when you already have a full plate. I couldn't help it, I swear!

Please note: there won't be any pictures on this blog until I buy more batteries, whihc could be this week or a month from now, it's hard to tell. It's pretty hard to write a compelling knitting blog with all the normal tools, and so I'm sure the lack of pictures will make this blog even more not-interesting. However, things are as they must be.

I've set to work on a couple more charity projects (hats, of course). One preemie hat in periwinkle, because I had the cotton and I got bored with the sock WIP. And I needed to finish a hat for that charity that didn't break my heart just thinking there might be somebody out there to wear it. I've also progressed through one hat and started another with some worsted (and very soft) single-ply sans ball band that is, I swear this is not a joke, curry yellow. With bits of red and black. It's an awful color, but the yarn is wonderful. If only I knew what it was so I could look and see if there were some colors that didn't remind me of vomit.

I've been plugging away at the pink sweater, and having ripped the back out twice, I think I have a better feel for the idea of arm holes and proper ratios. I'm working on the front now, trying to figure out where to start the v-neck and how to integrate redux for the extra boob space I needed.

The b/g monsters are getting there, bit by bit. Finished the gussets, working the instep.

Nothing to report on the kilt hose. Deadline quickly approaching. Blast.

I have a new project in the planning/buying stages: a wedding present for a friend whose wedding I'm a bridesmaid for in July. I'm going really simple, and I've had to check in about colors since she and I are very different that way. My palette tends towards bright blues, greens, and purples. As I would've guessed, she'd prefer more muted tones and warmer hues. Here's the specs so far: Log Cabin or Moderne blanket, approx 48"x48", using Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes in chocolate, chestnut, hollyberry, and cloud. If I go Log Cabin, I'm probably going to pick a fifth color for the center, a couple random sections and the edging. Winter night and grass are big on the list, and so was Carrot though now I see it only exists on my color card, but I can seem to make up my mind. I can't start ordering for a couple weeks yet (spent my budget early, it seems), so that gives me plenty of time to make a decision.